Choosing an international school that complements your child’s education needs in Malaysia is as exhilarating as it is unnerving. If you’re an expat parent who is adjusting to a new life in Malaysia, you’re likely to be engulfed by a wave of decisions on the local curriculum and after-school programs. Determining the best international school for your child is vital, and we’re here to help you step in the right direction.
1. Check the Fee Structure
Comparing the fee structures from different international schools would provide a hint on a tuition fee that is comfortable with your household’s financial planning. In Malaysia, kindergarten enrollment may cost you between RM8,400 and RM73,644 annually. For your older kids in Year 12 and 13, expect to set aside between RM23,400 and RM98,839 for yearly tuition fees. Get informed about what’s included in the fee; such as uniforms, after-school activities, textbooks, etc, so you’ll have a general idea of what extra fee to expect.
2. Choose the Right Syllabus
The opportunity to learn an international syllabus in a Malaysian landscape is a unique educational experience of its own. The British National Curriculum, the Australian Curriculum, International Baccalaureate, and the American Syllabus are some of the sought-after syllabi taught in Malaysia’s international schools. Consider the curriculum your child was following in your country, and what he/she will follow in the case of moving abroad afterward. This should help you pick the suitable one.
3. Pick a Strategically Located School
Settling for an international school that is close to your home will save you a lot of time, more so with Malaysia being notorious for their peak-hour traffic congestion. Heed our advice and the morning traffic crawl would become the least of your worries whenever your kids are running late for school. If you really can’t find a suitable school near your house, pick one that’s reachable by public transportation. At least you don’t have to drive through stress-inducing traffic jam to drop off your children at school.
4. Ask about Extra Curricular Activities
What happens beyond the four walls of your child’s classroom is as important as what happens indoors. That’s why the activities offered by a school should be a factor of consideration. Most international schools in Malaysia provide an impressive range of extra-curricular activities. Prince of Wales International School, for instance, has clubs and classes dedicated to astronomy, percussion ensemble, Chinese calligraphy, photography, and more.
5. Find a Well-Facilitated School
The part and parcel of a wholesome learning experience is a school that is kitted out with a variety of facilities. Some schools provide boarding facilities, while others are equipped with concert halls, science laboratories, indoor swimming pools, and gymnasium. Visit each school to see the facilities they have. Usually, the better equipped the school is, the more expensive the fees are.
Whether you’re deciding on an international syllabus for your child’s education, or a school that caters to their after-school needs, these tips will come in handy for expat parents who are on the fence about finding the best international school for their child in Malaysia.
This article has been edited and accepted for publication in Dec 2016.